From CNN's Brandon Miller
With winds clocking in at 185 mph, Hurricane Dorian is now the strongest hurricane to ever hit the Bahamas.
Here are some other facts and figures about Dorian:
From CNN's Natasha Chen
The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office have prepared two retrofitted army surplus vehicles for Hurricane Dorian as it spins toward Florida.
The vehicles are used for medical calls. Both are decommissioned out of Iraq and outfitted with emergency radios and sirens and enough room to put “a football team” of people in the back, the sheriff's office said.
Mandatory evacuations began at 2 p.m. ET for low-lying areas, barrier islands and manufactured home communities in the county.
“Yesterday we all breathed a sigh of relief. This morning, we woke up and we’re again facing a Category 5 storm," sheriff Ken Mascara said.
During Hurricane Dorian, ambulances and other emergency trucks and cars will be pulled back as soon as winds exceed 45 mph. This is when their fleet of high-water vehicles will be deployed, including the two armored vehicles, which are mine-resistant and bulletproof. Paramedics and fire crews will ride in the back, ready to assist any victims, the sheriff's office said.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has ordered tolls be suspended on major highways ahead of Hurricane Dorian.
The governor asked residents Sunday afternoon to “heed evacuation orders” from local officials and said several highways will suspend tolls, including:
Palm Beach, Martin, St Lucie, Brevard, Indian River, Volusia and St John counties all have issued evacuation orders, DeSantis said. He anticipates Flagler, Duval and Nassau counties to issue evacuation orders soon.
No bridge closures are announced at this time, DeSantis added.
“We have to prepare that this could have major impacts on the state of Florida,” DeSantis said.
Hurricane Dorian is passing over the Abacos Islands and "heading with all its fury" toward Grand Bahama, the northernmost island of the Bahamas in the Atlantic, according to the 2 p.m. ET advisory from National Hurricane Center.
The storm has sustained winds of 185 mph, the weather service said.
There have been no updates to watches and warnings.
About 16,000 employees of Florida Power & Light are preparing for outages due to Hurricane Dorian, according to the company's president and CEO Eric Silagy.
"[These people are] either pre-stage or rolling to stage sites across Florida. As soon as we're able, when winds get below 35 mph, we will deploy into the field to get the lights back on," Silagy said during a press conference today.
"With a storm this size, even if it doesn't make landfall, we're going to see tropical storm force winds, potentially hurricane force winds and storm surge, and there will be power outages," Silagy added.
Since 1950, only one storm has had stronger winds in the Atlantic than Dorian has right now.
Hurricane Allen in 1980 had maximum winds of 190 mph.
Here's a look at the strongest storms the Atlantic has seen:
From CNN's Judson Jones and Brandon Miller
Hurricane Dorian made landfall moments ago on the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas. The storm is a dangerous Category 5 and is continuing to churn northwestward.
The storm has sustained winds of 185 mph. Gusts over 200 mph are being experienced there while storm surge up to and over 20 feet is likely occurring. Extreme rainfall rates will likely lead to flash flooding.sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
Here's what else to expect each day this week:
Tropical storm-force winds will begin to move into the Florida Peninsula on Monday morning, likely occurring first in the West Palm Beach/Port St. Lucie area.
Dorian is slowly moving northwest and spreading tropical storm-force winds over more of Florida. By 8 p.m. ET Monday, tropical-storm force winds will be pushing into Central Florida.
By Tuesday, Hurricane Dorian should have weakened to a Category 4, with winds around 140 mph near the center. Tuesday will see Dorian start to make its closest pass to Florida as it turns to the north and parallels the coastline. Again, though the official forecast calls for the center of the storm to stay around 40-50 miles off shore, any slight deviation could bring the eye into Florida. Even if it doesn’t, hurricane force winds are likely to be over land on Tuesday along Florida’s east coast. Rain should be steady but might not be constant, depending on how close the storm gets.
At 8 a.m., the center of Dorian should be within about 50 miles of Port St Lucie/Vero Beach area. It will move northward during the day and evening.
The storm will continue to produce hurricane-force winds as it heads north with some more weakening forecast. There is an increasing risk of strong winds and dangerous storm surge along the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
This will be the closest approach to the Carolina coast. There is also the possibility of a landfall.
The storm will near the outer banks of North Carolina.
From CNN's Duarte Mendonca
The British Royal Navy auxiliary aid ship, RFA Mounts Bay, has been deployed to offer support during Hurricane Dorian, according to the Ministry of Defense press office.
The ship is ready to assist if help is needed in the Bahamas. It is fully equipped, capable of carrying amphibious vehicle and includes a helicopter for rescue and surveying operations, a statement from the department said.
The Royal Navy deploys ships every year ahead of hurricane season across different overseas territories — including the commonwealth areas — as part of their standard protocol to provide humanitarian and disaster relief.
The ship’s current position is not known, but its last whereabouts were near the British Virgin Islands roughly two days ago, the department said.
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for North and South Hutchinson Island, St Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said at an afternoon news briefing.
Manufactured homes and low-laying areas are also under a mandatory evacuation. Effective tomorrow, access to the area will be limited to residents and businesses only, Mascara said.
“This storm is very unpredictable,” said Mascara, who advised residents to get to shelters. “Our concern has grown, and so should yours."
Authorities warn against anyone who tries to take advantage of homes or businesses that are vulnerable. Last night someone attempted to “burglarize a house that was vacated,” Mascara said.